Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stealing My Heart

Book piracy is a crime that impacts all authors. With every new release, I know my book will be uploaded to a pirate site within hours. Not days, folks, but mere hours. The debate rages on whether or not piracy hinders sales. Some would give a resounding yes. Others think of it as free publicity. Personally, neither one of these is an issue with me. It all boils down to one simple point--people are stealing and it's wrong. I'm not going to let this discourage me from writing, however. This is what I love to do and nothing could me want to quit. I have vowed, however, to do my very best to educate others about this subject.

Piracy hurts. For some insane reason, people think that all authors make a fortune. Wrong! Most authors have to work a day job to make ends meet. We work for pennies an hour, often under immense pressure and little payout. If I can make one person understand this and they stop downloading "free"copies of my books because of it, then I consider it a success.

I was given the wonderful opportunity to participate in an anthology with some wonderful authors. Like me, they have been the victims of piracy. All the proceeds from this book will be used to educate and promote the anti-piracy message. It will be available March 1st at Total-E-Bound-Books. I consider it a huge honor to be able to work with such a wonderful publisher and group of writers.

-Stephani Hecht

e it in another time, another dimension, or another world, the authors of the Stealing My Heart Anthology will take you away to a world where male/male love and passion reign.

Stephani Hecht, Jambrea Jo Jones, A.J. Lewellyn and D.J. Manly, Carol Lynne, Jaime Samms, and Serena Yates, have all contributed their talents and their time to make this exciting contribution to male/male erotic romance.

All proceeds will go to help fight illegal e-Book downloading. Thank you, and enjoy!

Stolen Memories by Carol Lynne

On the eve of his mother's funeral, Aden Brousseau met Victor DePasse for the first time. For years his mother had warned him to stay away from the dark-haired neighbour, but on that particular evening, Aden hadn't listened. He'd been fascinated with the handsome man since the day he'd overheard his mother and grandfather refer to Victor as a vampire.

Now, twenty years later, Aden once again is in the presence of Victor DePasse. Only this time he's older and knows exactly what he wants.

After years of visiting his charge in his dreams, Victor suddenly has the man he's fallen in love with in front of him. Does he defy his orders and make Aden his, or does he obey and give Aden up to his destiny?

Stealing Rain by A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly

In the not too distant future, water becomes so scarce the hunt is on for any drop on other planets. Drew and Trace, former lovers find that love, not just rain, is high at any price.

Drew Lecour was once the pride of the military, until he'd decided to leave the federation and became a rogue, selling water to the highest bidder. Trace had a history with Drew, one that involved some hot sex and broken promises. And now, after not seeing him for years, Drew and his crew suddenly show up on a planet Trace has been contracted to protect, a planet where Drew is set to drill for water.

Trace doesn't have a choice. He has to defend the water supply. His men are waiting for their leader to give the order to kill, but he can't bring himself to do that. So he confiscates Drew's equipment and takes him prisoner; but having Drew naked and at his mercy proves far more challenging than he'd anticipated, and then, there are others forces at play.

Hotwired Heart by Jaime Samms

A good car thief needs sixty seconds, but grand theft heart might take even less time than that.

Freedom and trust; opposite sides of the same coin that could give expert car thief, Marky, the win he's looking for. Little does he know escaping his gang ties will lead him through heartbreak and into cuffs he hadn't even thought to watch out for. Now he can trust the powerful man who wants to help, or he can keep running.

It all depends on how much he values his freedom, and whether or not Roland has managed the impossible; hijacking Marky's carefully guarded heart.

The Magic Thieves by Serena Yates

Elryk Muyd'omir is the most powerful lightning wizard born on Tah'Nut in two hundred years and a pacifist. When he refuses to co-operate with the illegally ruling Xoh'kas family they torture and kill his lover. Rather than risking the death of thousands by losing control over his lightning magic in his rage, he flees to Earth—a place without magic. When the gateway that connects Tah'Nut to other worlds opens Elryk knows that the Law Forces have found him. It is time to either face cruel punishment or fight.

Kaythan Vs'urr is a Law Force Commander who is sent to retrieve the criminal wizard Elryk. He is expected to return him to Tah'Nut for ‘reprogramming'. Secretly disgusted with the Xoh'kas' lack of determination to stop the magic thieves, he has decided to win Elryk for his plan of defeating them. All they need to do is find the fabled Magic Shield to prevent further thievery.

Can Elryk trust the gorgeous Law Commander who wants his help? Will the two men be able to work together to defeat the Xoh'kas and eliminate the magic thieves?

Stealing Michael by Jambrea Jo Jones

Can one wrong make it right?

Robert's mother pushes him into stealing a painting. He is in over his head when the homeowner catches him in the act. It leaves him wondering what to do now?

Michael's life turns in a new direction when a stranger enters his home and the urge to protect the thief overcomes his common sense. He knows he should be angry but who can resist a thief that looks like an angel?

Dragon's Eye by Stephani Hecht

After a decade of living under the iron rule of a sorcerer, dragon shifter, Duncan Moore finally has his chance for freedom. With his former master dead, all Duncan has to do is steal the very thing that has been holding him captive all these years, his dragon's eye. The stone holds his magic and his dragon self and without it, he can never go home again.

What should be an easy theft turns complicated when he finds that someone has beat him to the eye and he has no idea where it could be. To add to things he suddenly finds himself teamed up with the dead sorcerers' son, Trent. For years Duncan has longed for Trent, but had never dared act on his desires. Then one night of passion between the men changes everything and Duncan realises that he could lose something far more valuable than his dragon's eye, he could lose Trent.

Will Duncan be able to save them both? Or will he have to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fictional Menages vs REAL Menages

By A.J. Llewellyn

We romance authors know what's hot. Our publishers let us know and so do the top ten lists at every romance publishing house. Some authors defy the trending genres and sell their pants off regardless of what is considered currently "hot".
Some authors jump on the new, glowing tide with mixed results.Menages is hot. Paranormal menages, even better. Some are frankly ludicrous...even frightening.
What kind of a REAL menages involves one women and say three, or even four men where the guys don't touch each other? That's not a menages it's a gang bang and in reality would make for one sore woman.
I am gay and I write gay menages. I have also written two books with men and women (My Hawaiian Song of Love, Quartetto) the latter of which featured three men and a woman.In romance writing parlance it was a M/M/M/F which indicates the men get it on. I've noticed a new genre cropping up: M/F/M which signifies the girl gets lucky with the guys but the guys don't get lucky with each other.
Now, I've talked to many friends who are het and who swing. They tell me in real life, this is possible. However, in real life, the fantasy acted out in reality is often one man and two women. For a guy, for example, who wants to see his wife taken by a hot, hung stranger, he might sit by and watch and join in...but not every single day.I have a friend who wanted to swing and she and her husband went to a sex club.
Her sex partner was apparently a very free and easy guy who grabbed her husband and as she said to me, "he got my husband ready for me. It was a total turn on."
"For you or for him?" I asked her.
"For me...and later on, he admitted he was taken by surprise, but he liked it. Would we do it again? I don't know. He wants another woman with me, but I'm not interested."
As for three or four men taking on a woman and not even getting near each other, I am told, and as I suspected, it is highly improbable.
My friend Leslie who performs in and directs straight porn tells me that when she and her hubby play with others, some guys love the feel of another man's cock, especially when it's just been inside the woman they're playing with.
"My husband is great for playtime with other women, but would never touch another man," she told me last night.
I asked her about a scene in a book I described to her, one that I had just read where three men took turns having sex with the woman. I found it unbelievable that they placidly took turns er...enjoying her and nothing else was going on.
"That sounds like a damned dreary party," she said. "I can't imagine that happening."
Leslie is heavily involved in the swinger scene and has shot a couple of orgies for camera.
"What you are describing is an orgy and is borderline gang rape," she said. "If it goes on for hours and the chick is spent and still the guys are doing real life, she'd be in a lot of pain. Besides, Ive been in a real orgy and there is nothing like them. There is an urgency...a pure picnic of pleasure. It would take at least two women to entertain a few guys. I'm a porn actress and I wouldn't want to take on three or four guys on my own. I mean, come on."
So I am curious.
Why do you think this genre is now hot to the point of being a, ridiculous? Maybe they're written for women by women who have a fetish for being the center of attention, but is it even remotely realistic?
Or am I the one who's eating crazy pie?
I'd really value your thoughts.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Art of Goal Setting

First, I would like to thank everyone who commented on this blog regarding the Haiti donation. I am extending the time and posting much the same on one of my other blogs so check it out there as well.

But let’s get on with today’s lesson. Today, we’re talking about goal setting, what it is, why you need them and how to set them. Now, all of us have goals but maybe you don’t know that it’s a goal because you never thought of it that way. Most goals can be broken down to short term and long term. Short term goals are things you can see happening in the immediate future, usually 1 to 60 days at the most. Long term goals are items which you wish to attain within 60 days or more.

There are many different theories and ideas in regards to goal planning and at the end, I will add a few links where you can look at these BUT in essence, goal setting is just making real the things you want to do in life or in this case, your writing career. Some books talk about goals being immediate, short and long term with different time frames than I have here.

The whole idea is to make everything digestible chunks which you can manage successfully. The old adage don’t bite off more than you can chew is very true when setting goals. The only item from all the books that I adhere to 100% is the fact that if you write something down, you make it real to yourself. You see it in black and white, on the page and suddenly, it becomes tangible, something you can strive for in your life.

Let’s look at some examples of short term goals for a writer. They could be as easy as the following:

Write 1000 words per day
Take a class monthly
Commit to writing daily

True, these are simple but they are specific. They are something a person can commit to doing then do it. One problem people have with goals is that they don’t write something specific. They use the words try or might instead of action words like write and commit. Remember all the lessons you’ve had regarding passive writing? Well, the same applies for setting goals. You must be specific and your goal needs to state an action you will take.

Long terms goals are a little different because they take place over a longer period of time. Here are some examples of long terms goals for a writer:

Get a agent in 2010
Submit to an NYC publisher within six months from today (1-26-2010)
Commit to doing a daily blot in 2010

I’ve made these long term and specific in what I want to achieve and when I want to achieve them. And these are actual goals on my 2010 list. These are some of the things I will do this year. I’ve written them down and I own them.

When I was a struggling writer, meaning I wasn’t published and it was hard to motivate myself, I did things like make a dream book where I could write down all my writing goals for five years. I made a page for each year and wrote down what I wanted to do during that year. I also had a page in the beginning of the book which outlined my daily and monthly goals. These could change daily as items get completed or they evolve into something else. I also made mock covers, interviews and anything else I could think to make the writing life real to me.

I still have that book and quite frequently look at it to see how well I may or may not be doing.

Here are some links regarding goal setting:

But the bottom line is if you don’t write it down, it won’t be real to you. Now go and make your short and long term goal list. Let me know what you see as some of your goals and don’t hesitate to ask questions. I might not always know the answer but chances are I know someone who does.

Goal setting and planning go hand in hand which is why I will talk more in depth about planning next week.

Here’s hoping that you achieve all your daily and weekly goals! Until next week...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pleasant Surprises

I had a surprise visit from my mom and stepdad on the 9th. They flew in to Vegas to attend a funeral in San Diego, and wanted to spend some time with my hubby and I. I dropped them off at the airport before going to the day job. The visit was nice, and hubby didn't have to surrender his XBox TV for actual TV watching, so no stress there.

Stepdad wanted to see the movie Avatar, so being a good sport, I took him and Mom to the IMAX 3D version. Although the 3D glasses were dirty, and gave me a headache from eyestrain, I was enthralled from opening credits to the ending. I'm not a SciFi fan. Not normally. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised. I can't tell you the times I held my breath, chewed on my nail. I was so wrapped up in the whole story. And the visuals!

Walking out of the theater, I got to thinking about my own writing. How I would love to write a story that has my reader sighing, tingling, holding their breath when the characters are in peril. I want readers to walk away from my books with that WOW feeling. And maybe there are flashes in my stories that give readers some kind of sensation, but I have something to strive for, that goal to make my writing entrap the reader even more deeply in the pages of a book I wrote, where they read The End and feel disappointed to not have more of the journey to continue.You know what I love about writing, though? There is ALWAYS room for improvement, always a new direction to go. You just have to know when to recognize the possibilities.

So I leave you this week, as I head off to finish my current manuscript, that will hopefully give my readers goosebumps and sighs.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Have you seen?

In light of the fact I have no clue what to write about at the moment, I figured I'd share the following with you since I was really happy to have received such wonderful comments.

Two great reviews from Bitten by Books!

Postponing Eternity

Mary at Bitten by Books said, "The characters were well developed and believable, and the descriptions were clear and easy to imagine. I am really looking forward to reading more…" Postponing Eternity received 4.5 tombstones!
For more, visit:
To purchase, visit:
Devine Destinies


Holiday Spirits
4.5 Tombstones for Holiday Spirits from Bitten by Books! A quote from the review: "The descriptions of the race were clear and realistic, making it easy to imagine. Since I don't see myself running a marathon, this was a great way to live vicariously."
For more, visit:
To purchase, visit:
eXtasy Books

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My New Series

January 15th 2010 was the release date for Blood Visions the first in the Immortal Council Series. This has been such a fun project, that I am still working on currently. It is a world of immortals interacting, with little to do with the humans around them. I am so thoroughly enjoying this world I am creating that I continue to create more and more future stories for it, which is not a bad thing I suppose.

In this first book Blood Visions you meet a character who has recently been trying to take over my life, Zyra. She even has her own twitter account ( and blogs every Monday ( now because she refused to stay in my head. Another very fun thing I have found with this series. I really enjoy giving my character a life outside of the story.

I am tempted to give more life to some of my other characters from this series, but as of yet I haven't. I may though, if I can find the time. It can be hard enough being me, if I try and be a bunch of characters as well I will never get any writing done.

Blood Visions was not the first story in the series I wrote. I actually began with the second story, it was an idea my lovely husband actually inspired on accident and I ran with it. The words just flew, then before I finished I wanted to write for the Tarot series at and picked the strength card. So my story is based loosely off the meaning of the strength tarot card and it inspired a pre-story for my series. I am glad it did, I think that my series would have been missing some important information if it didn't have this story first. It is the beginning of it all.

(click cover to read an excerpt)

Zyra is dating a vampire who is completely obsessed with her, but now that the newness has worn off she realizes it's nothing more than great sex. She wants more. She wants the true love she knows will last her through her immortal days and nights. Tarquin has been living on instinct for far too long, it is his time to die, and he knows it. Can the patience of his beautiful enemy give him the will to control himself, and can they find a way to pure ecstasy together in bed?

This story is available at and you can watch it's trailer on my website

The next book in the series Keeping Blood will be available April 15th 2010.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bad Feng-Shui

By A.J. Llewellyn

My author buddy Stephani Hecht and I have become obsessed with the TV show "Hoarders." It is my one guilty pleasure along with "American Idol" that I allow myself each week. I've mostly given up TV to accommodate my deadline crunch so when I do watch, I'm like a happy little kid playing hooky. I can't even tear myself away from the endless TV ads (is it just me or do they go on and bloody on?).
Steph and I always say the show makes us feel normal. It's also nudged me into cleaning up cluttered corners - do I really need those old copies of "Viz" comic?
Last week, my friend Cate decided to watch "Hoarders" on my recommendation and called me to confess that she realizes she suffers from this problem. She said she was ashamed of it and was relieved to find it's an actual sickness and that she's not the only one (according to the show's stats, millions of Americans are hoarders).
I was very surprised to hear this since she is always immaculate in her grooming and the front of her house is a Japanese zen garden.
"Inside," she assured me, "It's a different story. It's a catastrophe."
I wasn't sure how I was supposed to respond.
Cate is an employed TV writer and a woman of means. She immediately found a feng-shui expert who for the whopping charge of $400 arrived at her door and almost (according to Cate) fell over.
The expert said Cate needed to de-junk the house before she could help her with the necessary feng-shui 'remedies'.
Along came the cleaning crew.
And yours truly.
I arrived this morning and found my normally efficient, hilarious friend in hysterical tears over a box of wire coat hangers she simply has to keep.
I knew she collected stuff. We both do.
I collect old typewriters and books and yes, there a few piles of books in my home office but Cate has piles everywhere. I was stunned by what I saw. She has thousands of newspapers piled up from years ago. She's never opened any of them. Many are still in their plastic delivery bags with sample packs of toothpaste, shampoo and cereal boxes attached to them.
I spotted a five-year old LA Times and felt a pang of nostalgia when I saw the "Outdoor" section long dropped from the paper.
"Oh, this is bad feng-shui," the expert kept muttering. She charges a bomb and like some demented Queen Bee, took charge but didn't actually lift a finger to help.
Cate's husband, who moved out last year and lives in the guest house in back of the property told me that he filed for a new home owner's insurance policy several months ago. The insurer insisted on a home inspection. Cate's husband waited until she went on location for her TV show and emptied the entire house, taking photos of every single room first.
He had the house cleaned and it looked fantastic for the inspection.
As soon as it was over and the paperwork signed, he put all the rubbish back.
In spite of his careful replacement, she knew stuff had been moved - but not to what extent.
She won't throw out anything. Cate collects...well...anything.
Teapots, mirrors, picture frames...I am guilty of collecting 50s Hawaiiana that perhaps isn't considered useful or even tasteful but in fact, I use my trays and tiki glasses.
She has a house full of bolts of fabrics, hundreds of boxes of cereal out of date and crowded with weevils. I was sick to my stomach when I saw her cat's sad face. She was sitting on top of a box filled with God knows what.
"I can't throw away any of it," Cate said. She's a hidden hoarder. Her home-owning, bill=paying status means nobody's coming after her to clean the crap up.
Oddly, her work table where she belts out episodic TV is pretty clean - for a writer. She has rings on it from coffee cups, files and folders, notebooks...but it is tidy.
The rest of her oh man...the kitchen almost made me throw up. It is so infested with bugs she's pasted yellow insect paper everywhere, and tiny black bodies are stuck to the many surfaces.
We couldn't figure out where these insects were coming from and threw out the overflowing garbage and still they circled the room.
I was given the task of cleaning the walls, the fridge and the oven.
After two hours, I started to realize the stove is white.
I think.
It is currently sitting under layers of oven-cleaning foam and my arms ache.
We cleaned off one section of living room and her carpet is emerald green.
"I tell you what's weird," the feng-shui lady said, bending over to examine it. "It's pretty clean. She has so much crap on top of it, it's stayed pretty clean and green is the color of money, which is why she's been able to make an income."
I rolled my eyes around this woman so much that they were about to tumble out of my head.
Progress is slow and every box Cate packs for storage has to be examined and half-emptied behind her back.
That's the only way we can help her. The show "Hoarders" features legendary battles with its subjects who scrutinize boxes. When we allowed Cate to do so, she held up progress.
I threw out 17 green garbage bags full of half-filled cereal boxes and 10-year old cake mixes. Rancid meat made me retch so badly, her husband took over the fridge cleaning so I could take a break.
So much was going on Cate grew more frantic, but then she realized she was uncovering things she thought had been stolen.
She is finding lost gems and I suspect when I go back and finish my job of the stove, there will be more tears and triumphs.
Unfortunately I suspect too, in six months she'll have accumulated more crap, but for now, I hope the good feng-shui wins over the bad feng-shui.
And I hope her cat has somewhere much more comfy to sleep tonight.
Aloha oe,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My World and the Caring for Others

I know I said I would be back on track with our publication track but things in my own world and the world around me have caused me pause.

First, it has been raining like cats and dogs here off and on for almost three days. I love the rain as we almost never get any but this time I knew it would be ominous and I was correct. Now, we were blessed in the fact that the first rain filled day caused nothing to happen. But at the end of the second day, here comes the incessant drip, drip, drip of the water coming through our great room ceiling.

After the last time we thought we had fixed it well enough not to happen again as we have a flat roof on the room. What we really need is a pitched roof because right now the water pools on it and once that happens, we’re goners. But doing a pitched roof takes time and my dear husband likes to do things himself, so we planned for it to happen this spring or summer. But for now, the house smells, the ceiling turns colors and the whole place just seems damp and yucky every day it rains. And of course, you can’t fix a leaky roof until the weather has stopped. So we wait.

But as annoying as the roof leak is, it isn’t devastating. Now the mudslides in California will be as is the earthquake in Haiti. Those are life altering situations where you don’t really know the outcome.

The miracles which are coming out of Haiti, as well as the bad things, either help me to reinforce or wonder at the human spirit. There are those who are thankful for their lives like the American girl who lost her foot but told us it was just a foot; or those who pitched stones at a young boy necessitating in the rescue of him by a CNN anchorman; or the American doctor and CNN correspondent Sanjay Gupta who watched in horror as all the medical staff just picked up and left a field hospital and the patients to their own fate. My faith was totally restored as the man rolled up his sleeves and told the crew they could return to the hotel but he would stay to do his real job. He stayed and cared for the twenty or so critical care patients with only his crew to help keep them alive through the night.

The news from California is not so good as at least a hundred and eighty-nine families prepare for evacuation from the mudslide zone. They are probably being moved as I type. And the rain keeps coming down in the area as storm after storm rolls across the region. And yes, these are the same storms coming through my neck of the world as I wonder if it will get cold enough for snow tonight. At least no matter what my situation, I will have a home but some of them may not and that has to be a scary prospect for them.

Now some of you many wonder just why I feel so deeply for these situations. I guess it’s because my roots are in medicine and caring for people. Every year, I’ve watched as people I know come and go to help those in more need than myself. Every year, I’ve wanted to go with them but my family and other things have keep me rooted to my home. Many times I’ve donated to relief funds and hope that my money will do some good.

And that’s what I propose for myself this time. But now it’s tied to you. For every book purchased or comment made, I will make a donation to the American Red Cross and earmark it for either Haiti or mudslide victims in California. I will donate $1 for every comment or book purchased up to $1000 because I am blessed and I know this. If you purchase a book of mine, just send me a copy of the receipt for verification and your name goes on the list. If you just drop by to comment, you need to let me know exactly where you heard about this and why you feel it’s important to give back.

So, give back, you’ll feel better for it! And buy a book, I’ll feel better...LOL! Truthfully, life is way too short not to help those in need.

See you all next week...and I promise to get back on track with if I can just get that drip out of my head. LOL!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Things that make you go :/ & :)

Last week I was in the midst of research for a series I'm planning and that's when/how I learned of the earthquake in Haiti. The info I stumbled upon was at this link: My first reaction to this 'wonderful' tidbit was WTF? then I looked at my husband and started asking a string of rhetorical questions (ones of which I won't venture into here since this is not meant to be a blog on religious views). Then there's the whole Rush Limbaugh commentary which had me again saying WTF, :/ ? I won't go into my views on this either but comments like Robertson's, Limbaugh's and the general public's makes me wonder if the big guy is shaking his head and regretting some of his decisions.
But in all of this I've had my own :) story. I wrote about it here:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

There you have it

I've sat in front of the computer trying to come up with something worth while writing and passing on, but the truth is that I can't think of a single thing. Don't get me wrong! I have many fabulous things to be grateful for:

My Naughty Little Vamp blog is doing exceptionally well

I am working on book four of the Hightower Series of which I have a March 1st release date (keeping my fingers crossed I can make the deadline)

My family is well and knock on wood, none of our pets have had to go to the vet, as of lately - But wait, now that I've written this, oh, better if I didn't even finish that thought.

I have been told not to tell anyone that I'm quiting smoking and I can understand the reasoning behind that. So I will say that I am TREMENDOUSLY "cutting back" on my smoking. Was it a New Year's resolution? No. Do I want to? NO. Do I need to? Yes. Yes, it's time to get serious about my health and my future.

I can tell you that "cutting back" has been the most difficult addictions I've had to overcome and believe me I've had some whoppers! Details not forthcoming. Just trust me when I say, I only thought the others were difficult.

I don't mean to be cranky, uptight, mean, a downer, or as my friend called me - a suck ass.
I'm doing okay for the most part, but when an urge overcomes me, my thoughts aren't my own. I feel like a cross between one of the pod people from outer space, the swamp thing and the blob!

Well, there you have it, pure, raw emotion. Arrgghhh!

Hopefully, next moth I'll be a much nicer person. :)

Oh yeah, while I'm feeling normal, I want to wish you all a great New Year!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

When the Bucket List Delivers

By A.J. Llewellyn

Last year, when the world went mad compiling Bucket Lists (you know, must-do things before we die) it bugged me that what had been at the top of my list the previous year - to see Don Ho, my ultimate, all-time music hero perform live - had to be scratched.
My hero died in 2007 and I still couldn't bring myself to scratch him off the list from the previous year.
I knew it was silly, an impossible dream, but it broke my heart when he died. I just loved that man. It hurt me that I never got to see him perform live. I've met many people over the years who did and the smiles on their faces at the memory told me everything I needed to know.
So I kept him on my list. It's my list after all and nobody needed to know how demented I really am...
This week, my sweetheart sent me an amazing gift, one I will cherish forever. When the big box arrived, I couldn't imagine what he sent me, and was stunned to find an LP I never even knew existed: Don Ho Live at the Polynesian Palace.
I've since discovered it is indeed, a rare LP. Don looks like an angel on the cover and I carefully dusted and cleaned the LP and put it on the turntable.
I quickly called my man. "Where did you find it? How?"
He laughed and told me somebody had given it to him in a collection they no longer wanted, but he knew I was the one person in the world would really appreciate that album.
Recorded live in 1969 at the Palace, where he performed nightly for over a decade, it is raw, pure, beautiful 100% Ho.
There's no filtering of the microphone clunking, chatty background noises, no over-dubs. I listened to the opening Hawaiian chant and stood mesmerized as he asked the children in the audience to come to the stage. He tried to get them to sing along on Pearly Shells, but not only were they off-key, none of them knew the lyrics.
"What's your name, sweetheart?" he asked one little girl.
"And where are you from, Maria?"
"And what does your daddy do?"
"He's in heaven."
There was a hushed silence and Ho said, "He's in a beautiful place, much better than here, Maria. Come and give me a kiss, sweetheart."
Yes, it was awkward and probably today, some sound engineer would have cut it from the lengthy track. But this was Don Ho's gift. He knew his audience and he once described his live show as "like inviting a trainwreck, but we haven't had one yet."
So you see, my Bucket List delivered. I feel I was right there, right by the stage as a little boy called Teddy shrieked his name twice when Mr. Ho didn't hear him the first time.
His wonderful, mad laughter, his constant jokes and lively, lovely music are revelations I will listen to again and again, as if I were there. Live at the Polynesian Palace.
Aloha oe,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Me & Bedrest

Sorry I didn't post this week as I have been on bedrest due to a bad hip.

Do you know just how bad it is for a writer who's not allowed to get to her computer?

Let me tell you, it will be a week of being a couch potato, plotting in my head and praying I don't go crazy. But there are a few episodes of Heroes I need to catch up on and I suppose now it the time. LOL!

See you all next week and we'll continue our journey toward publication. And how much did you all write this week?

Have a great week!


Monday, January 11, 2010

tea, strange packages, chemistry & chocolate

I'm sitting here with a mug of green tea (decaf) that's laden with a generous portion of honey and two slices of lemon, contemplating life, the universe and ... how does it go? everything? anything?
So what to post? Talk about how life can change within a couple simple weeks? Nah. Talk about how messages from the Universe (or God and/or Goddess or whomever you follow) come in strange packages? Hmmm... Since you're probably wondering what my idea of a strange package might be, how about watching The Housewives of Orange County on the DVR. A couple goes to church and the preacher mentions a book and chapter from the bible then between his interpretation of the good book and cuts to housewife commentary, I receive some info that I needed to hear. I, of course, went into my library, got my bible and looked up the chapter to see how his interpretation compared to the passage. [Yes, I do own a bible. In fact, I own several religious texts including 2 versions of the good book. And y'all thought I wasn't religious.] But even though my dear husband's been telling me the same thing the Universe has deemed to bring through to me via the chicks of OC, I think I need the proverbial brick thrown at my head. & I believe it will be coming in the form of chemistry. It’s Sunday night. I’m trying not to dwell on matters that I don’t want to face but will probably have to deal with in the near future and trying not to think of how I’ll waste a few hours tomorrow with someone who’s probably working more for the insurance PTB than for the good of the people. But in the end there will be chemistry.
I know, I’m being as clear as a hunk of dark chocolate. It’s been a long day.
How about this… today's date looks binary. (011010 or 011110)
Then there’s also this… The following is the same forward as it is backwards: Was it a cat I saw

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lessons from my computer

My computer is crashing, which is why this post is a bit late this morning. I am learning a lesson with it though, don't trust a computer! I have been lazy and not really backed things up. Pictures and writings that are important but I didn't think would ever not be accessible.

And now i scramble to try and save things because i am pretty sure it is going to come down to reinstalling everything, which will mean losing everything that isn't on a disk somewhere else. I am beyond frustrated and would love to throw the thing out the window, of course that wouldn't really solve anything so I won't. But I might continue to daydream about the act.

My computer is obviously teaching me a lesson though, and I am pretty sure I will be inclined to learn it the first time. I will not be trusting it like I used to, no way. I will be backing up things and I will be doing it regularly.

I think that a love hate relationship with computers is the norm. I don't know of anyone who never has frustrations with them. But they are nearly impossible to avoid, I know there are plenty of people out there who don't use them hardly ever, if ever, but they are the minority I would think.

I don't know what I would do without mine, and I really hope I can save it, and all its information. Wish me luck with that, and remember not to trust too much of your life to a piece of technology.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Playing Nicely Together

By A.J.Llewellyn
One of the questions I'm often asked by readers is how does a collaboration work between two writers living far apart?
I have been extraordinarily lucky that D.J. Manly first contacted me 19 months ago and asked me if I wanted to collaborate. I'd always seen myself as a lone wolf - and so did D.J. - but he had an idea and sent me the first few chapters via email. I loved it.
I've said this before so I am not telling tales out of school, but D.J.'s idea of two romance writers meeting over the Internet and falling in love just grabbed me.
He wrote the chapters from Thomas' point of view and his growing feelings for Marcus.
As I read the pages, I realized I'd be writing from Marcus' POV.
I emailed D.J. saying I couldn't get into the name Marcus, would he mind if I changed it to Matt.
He didn't mind at all and I jumped all over the story that became Black Point. The funny thing is, I've sat in rooms with people and had difficult collaborations, but not this time.
A friend of mine is an author and approached me to write a book with her. She had a wonderful idea but presented me with sloppily-written pages and inserted A.J. - SEX SCENE NEEDED HERE.
I don't write like that. Neither does D.J. Thank God.
The sex scenes must be organic to the work, I think.
She also freaked when I did write the first sex scene - a blow job. She thought it was dirty.
I knew right away we couldn't work together. It saved our friendship and our sanity.
To write in any genre, it's important that you both have a love for it. If one author is squeamish about explicit sex, you are doomed to failure.
Trust me on that.
If one of you has trouble writing and the other keeps pulling the wagon, ditto, as Patrick Swayze was fond of saying in Ghost.
Oh, D.J. and I didn't always agree, but it was one point we argued and D.J. turned out to be right. I think the success of any collaboration lies in trust.
At some point, one of you is gonna jump the shark. So somebody has to be unafraid to paddle the canoe back to the right pool of water. Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's D.J. To be honest, it doesn't happen much with us, because we seem to be so in tune.
I trust D.J.'s heart and his mind. He loves the characters we have created as much as I do. As we wrap up the final work on our 15th book together, Blood Eclipse 4: Apocalypse, I find it hard to do anything except think about Rory, Carden, Dennis and Thiago.
We have become so comfortable writing together now, our styles blend so well even our editor can't tell who wrote what. Neither can many of our readers.
I think this is the sign of a successful series. I've had conversations with other authors about their collaborations and from what I see I am lucky. Some collaborations become volatile and painful. I feel especially lucky because I now also have a fantastic partnership with Stephani Hecht.
We have the same wonderful discussions, nutting out ideas, leaving each other to float and dream and when sharks approach, we yell, "Ahoy!"
As D.J. and I wind up work on Apocalypse, I feel a sense of sadness saying goodbye to our characters. This is our last book in this particular series but D.J. and I have many more lined up. It's just so hard to say goodbye.
I think this is a good sign though, that the characters cling to me, and I to them. We play so nicely together.
Aloha oe,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Journey Into 2010 – Commit to Writing

Like many of the writers on this blog, I too am stopping to reflect some on last year. For me, it was a fairly productive year as I wrote many words and accomplished a lot of things. But many of those items weren’t on my ‘To Do’ list as they were thrust upon me because I volunteered or I just wanted to do them.

True, had I kept to my own list instead of allowing the distractions to pull me away, I would have done more of what I had seen for myself at the beginning of the year. But I really figure it this way: I did exactly what I was supposed to do, no more, no less.

Now many would say I’m crazy for saying something like this but it is my belief everything happens for a reason and in the exact manner it was supposed to happen. There is order in the mad chaos known as our world and part of our task as writers is to put meaning to that order.

As writers, we create and rewrite our stories until they shine. If we’re lucky, we get to present them to the world in a nice shiny package called a book. We get to tell our friends and family, we advertise about it and blog. Basically, we tell the world our baby has arrived and like a real baby, once it’s there we don’t care one bit about how painful it was to get out into the world. It has arrived and we breathe a sigh of relief.

If we’re really fortunate, we are blessed with the ability to repeat the process as many times during the year that we so desire. If we want a slow year we produce little, a heavy year we work our fingers to the bone. But we produce so you as our readers can enjoy what we have to share.

One of the personal commitments I made to myself last year was to present a series where a new writer could start at the beginning of the year reading this blog and by the end be a published writer. Well, welcome to the first column of the year.

If one truly wants to be a writer, you must commit to writing. You need to set goals, plan books, put together a small business plan and study the publishing world so you can make the most informed decisions possible. All of these things and more will be discussed during the next year but first, you must start with the commitment process.

You need to commit to write daily, no matter what. And that means demanding families, homework, blogs, house cleaning, answering emails, web surfing and a million other things must all be put into a proper perspective in regards to your writing time. If the tasks of the day are too much for you, get up fifteen minutes early to write. If you do better at night when the house is all quite because they are all asleep, stay up an extra fifteen to get what you need done.

Another part is to start small. I have seen many a writer fall by the way side because they wanted to write 5-10K a day when they could barely set aside enough time to do 50-100 words daily. Know your limitations and abide by them. Things can change, so this is always adjustable. The point here is to just put aside the time to write daily, no matter what.

If you are the type who must have a contract for something like this, make the contract with yourself. If can be as simple as ‘I will write 1000 words per day’ and sign and date it. You can make it more specific by adding when you plan to do this, where, when you’re going to re-evaluate the contract to continue your journey.

I would love to hear about your experiences with making the commitment to write. Next week, I’ll talk about goal setting but first, I’d just love to see you all sitting behind your computer to write. Good luck!

See you all next week!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Here I Come

So here we are, five days into the new year, and I'm already banging my head against the wall. I created a list of things I want to accomplish this year, and I get hit by the bug of doubt. Can I really do what I planned? Will my muse play nice and help keep me motivated? Will my cat leave me alone long enough to write my daily goal of 1000 words?

What I want to know is how do you guys do it? How do you get over the daily worries of whether anyone will really like your writing? I can't be the only neurotic writer out there who has this fear. But then, maybe you're like me and take that fear and use it to prove those naysayers wrong. I have to admit that I absolutely hated high school. There were a few wonderful memories, but mostly I couldn't wait for the school day to end, to get away from the teasing and snide remarks. I wasn't hideous back in those days, but I acted like an idiot, couldn't keep my mouth shut to save my life because I had no verbal filter--still don't most days. And there were a fair number of people I thought were my friends who told me I would never make it as a writer.

Now I don't consider myself a vindictive person, and I can only hold a grudge until I fall asleep then I get over it and move on. But being told I would never achieve my dream chaffed my ego in a big way. Yes, I had a ton to learn about writing mechanics, but I knew I could tell a mean story. Egotistical? Maybe. But if I didn't believe in myself, who would?

With graduation well over 15 years behind me, I can look at those naysayers, shake my butt as I dance around my office and proudly say "PPPLLLLLLTTTTT!"

Ehem, so back to 2010. I have a list of goals for 2010.
1) to lose 20 pounds (I know, I have this resolution every year)
2) stalk agents for representation
3) complete three short stories
4) submit previous mentioned short stories.

Now that list (with the exception of #1) may not be daunting but for me, let's just say I always have great intentions, but my follow through sometimes sucks big time.

So, what are you goals for our bright and shiny New Year?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good-bye 2009 and Hello 2010

I’m probably not alone in saying I am so glad that 2009 is over and done with. For me, it wasn’t one of the best years of my life. Combined with a handful of horrid colds & other medical issues, hours cut at work, a husband being laid-off, and lack of sales, I could say it was one of the worst out of forty and it had started at the end of November 2008…so it lasted a LONG time.
Then again, not all of 2009 was bad. It had its moments that I am grateful for. I met some wonderful people and gained a few new, terrific friends. The bad that happened helped me figure out what the good is and what I want out of life. And, I received some wonderful comments on my work.
To point out a few:
~ "C.R. Moss has an incredible ability to bring scenes alive and making the reader connect with each character on multiple levels." ~ Kristy Bock, PNR Reviews
~ “CR Moss is one of the best story tellers I have ever read, and I look forward to each new release!” Rie McGaha, author of Blood Line
~ The Decision (Wheel of Fortune, eXtasy Tarot series) was a Reviewers Top Pick! In the review, Jes said, "The Decision is a beautifully written story by C.R. Moss, with intuitive scenes that shifted and changed with the character … and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in paranormal erotica." Check out the whole review here:
~ “Okay, so now I'm hooked and understand what the big buzz is concerning CR Moss–now to go find myself a prophecy, a man, some magic and some …well you get the picture.”
If you’re interested in reading the full reviews, please visit my website at: & visiting the links there.

But now that 2009 is over and 2010 is shiny and brand new and the start of this year feels quite different than last year’s did, I’m ready to make and meet new goals. On a personal level I hope to reverse the fiscal fiasco the world market caused my family to have and to whip myself back into shape. I gained too much weight after I quit smoking seven+ years ago, and over the course of time, and it’s reached the point where I have to take the pounds off. And maybe once I get back to my pre-quit weight, I’ll have new photos taken and share what I look like on my sites. But don’t hold me to that! I seem to have developed an aversion to the camera in the past few years. ;) On a professional level, I have a lot of exciting projects planned for 2010 and more great releases coming out. Look for my first 2010 release, Beautiful People, at extasy books on March 1. That’s a psychological thriller with a hint of romance. Ash’s offspring, Michael, will be visiting my Dirty Little stories series in Dirty Little Girl and that’s slated for release on May 15 at extasy books. He and the heroine from Dirty Little Girl will revisit the story line in a longer work (which I will be shopping to publishers as part of an anthology because I want to expand my publishing base in 2010) tentatively titled Dirty Little Demons. Along with those stories, a series called Look What the Cat Dragged In will be released via Devine Destinies during the spring and summer. The first story ‘For Evelyn’ will be released on April 1. No joke! ;D My other projects include a story line I want to shop to NYC, so you’ll probably be seeing posts about my progress in regard to that. There’s a romantic suspense story line I’m developing for a new publisher. Then there’s the vampire/werewolf series I’ll be getting back to writing. Yes, I plan to be very busy with my writing along with guest blogging at various loops and participating in chats this year.
I want to thank you all for your support and readership over the past two years! I appreciate all my readers and hope to continue bringing you the terrific tales you’ve come to enjoy.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!
Happy reading,
C.R. Moss
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